Driverless cars set to be trialled on Manchester Airport run
Driverless cars could soon be ferrying passengers between Stockport railway station and Manchester Airport.
Bosses behind the multi-million pound project hope to be testing the autonomous vehicles on the road within the next 18 months.
As well as driving themselves, the cars will also have an interactive concierge service allowing passengers to check-in for flights, browse duty free and use social media.
Passengers could even ask the vehicle to stop off to pick up last minute provisions on route.
Almost £5m is being invested by the government in Project Synergy, which, in addition to the fleet of autonomous electric street cars, will see three transport “pods” ferrying passengers around the airport.
The project is being steered by Westfield Sportscars as part of a three-year research study.
Following painstaking race track and wind tunnel testing, the vehicles will be trialled in real-world conditions at speeds of up to 70mph and just a few metres apart.
The project aims to establish whether self-driving vehicles can effectively and safely reduce congestion, emissions and pollution, and generally improve road transport.
The government funding is part of a larger £110m kitty being split between more than 30 similar low carbon and connected autonomous vehicle (CAV) projects throughout the UK.
Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said: “Low-carbon and driverless cars are the future and as a Government we are determined through the Industrial Strategy to build on our strengths and put the UK at the forefront of this revolution.
“Investment in this technology is an integral part of this Government’s efforts to ensure the UK auto sector remains competitive and world-leading.
“The projects awarded funding will help extend our excellence in these cutting-edge research fields, helping to safeguard jobs while ensuring the UK remains the go-to destination for automotive excellence.”
Members of the public are being given their first taste of the driverless car experience in a prototype shuttle on a two-mile route near London’s O2 Arena which runs throughout April. Thousands applied to take part in the trial but only a lucky 100 passengers were picked for the exercise.
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